Cannonball Run

It’s been a little while since I slagged off, I mean talked about cricket,  so I thought what better time, as the season to bash extremely hard balls about is bowling off in earnest, than talk about the bloody sport.

I mean bloody in the kindest (you know me) sense of the word. I’m amazed that we don’t hear more stories about the carnage on the cricket ground. Forget murder on the dance floor.

Considering the fact that it consists  of whizzing a cannonball about and trying to score runs while someone throws those same cannonballs back at you, I mean at the stumps, to get you out, I would expect the body count to be higher than a Rambo film.

Rollerball? Ha! That’s like playing shove ha’penny with the grand kids compared to dodging one of those projectiles as some spotty young oik, out to prove himself, tries to flatten you with the village greens version of WMD’s.

I know that the few instances I’ve been persuaded, cajoled, press-ganged into playing cricket I’ve felt the need for more than just a box to give me some modicum of protection. More like full Kevlar body armour. And that’s when I’m fielding on the boundary.

Yep, there’s nothing like stretching out to try and catch a ball as it hurtles past you at sub-sonic speed, only for it to catch the tip of your fingers and damn near take your finger nails off. And what do you get for your kamikaze efforts? Looks of dismay from your team members and shakes of their heads.

So I tip my hat to those about to do battle for Queen and County and hope they’ve got their slot booked at A&E.

It certainly is a huge price to pay for cucumber sandwiches in the pavilion.

But really this post was just an excuse to show this cover from a new book by Simon Hughes which I think is marvelous.

A sneaky plug?

It’s just not cricket.

And God Created Cricket

And God Created Cricket (shame he didn`t use softer balls)

Snap, Crackle and Flop!

Now that our Alistair has written out British Historys biggest IOU and left the nations great-grandchildren in hock to who knows who, for how knows long; It was nice last night to settle down and take solace in the latest episode of The Apprentice.

The two teams had just two days to become media advertising geniuses and create a breakfast cereal brand name, character, box design, TV advert and client pitch.
Wow! It’d take most execs. that amount of time to clean the whiteboard and get out their felt marker pens.

One team achieved the task admirably and produced a good campaign. The other team? Well, like all bad products, it all starts with a crappy list of ingredients.

First take a small amount of sclerotic Noorul, the man who never says too much. Well, getting him to say or do anything would be worthy of a prize in itself.

Then add a spoonful of negative Lorraine. “We don’t need the other side to beat us. I’m gonna’ f*** our teams chances up, by whinging and generally carrying on, quite nicely without any help from them thank you.

Mix in a generous measure of  ‘tantrum of the North’ Philip. “It’s quite simple, either I get my own way or I’ll lie down on this floor right now, wave my legs in the air and have the biggest hissy fit the world has ever known.”

To finish this concoction, simmer not-so-gently with Kimberly, ‘I’m an American, get me out of here’, Davis as the finest transatlantic wet blanket project manager ever and you have the makings of a truly, madly, deeply er … mess.

I won’t go through the events of the episode. You can watch them perform in all their cringe worthy mediocrity here.

But I forgot, there’s one other ingredient that you need to produce TV gold like this.

Just add Sugar.

Power Lyrics

I heard on my in-car entertainment system (yeah okay, my car radio) Rod Stewart’s ‘You Wear It Well’ recently and I remembered how much I like this song. It’s got a great tune, is sung well (apart from in the YouTube clip below which was the best I could find) and has fantastic lyrics.

One particular line that I always find myself singing along to is, “But I ain’t forgetting that you were once mine” and then the corker “But I blew it without even trying.”

The second line, “But I blew it without even trying”, is such a great line. It says a lot in only seven words.

It reveals a lot about the character in the song. It implies that he regularly messes up his relationships but this one he screwed up without even breaking a sweat. In that one line I can almost picture the guy. His attitude, how he looks upon life. His reactions to certain situations.

That’s what I call a ‘Power Lyric.’ A line that economically and succinctly puts over a meaning but in a length of line that you wouldn’t normally expect that amount of meaning to be conveyed on.

(Yikes! There you go, case in point, 29 words to labour over one.)

I have to admit I don’t really listen, or only half listen, to lyrics these days. Mainly because so much of it is the, “I love you, you love me”, stuff with which we are often force fed.

Anyway that’s my Power Lyric. I’m sure you’ve got your own.

University Challenging

I really enjoyed watching ‘University Challenge’ this year. This comes as something of a shock to me because in the past I’ve loathed the programme with a vengeance.

I only needed to hear the theme music and like Pavlov’s dogs I would react; knuckles going white, snarl coming from lips, vein throbbing in forehead. You get the picture.

So when I happened to fall upon the programme by chance, halfway through the present series, I didn’t expect too much but lo’ and behold I found myself hooked. I’d spend a happy half hour vainly making attempts at providing answers but mostly I spent my time just trying to understand the questions.

The final was great, far more worthy than any sporting event, so imagine the disappointment when I discovered today that the winning team had been disqualified.

And the reason?

‘… students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series.’

Apparently Corpus Christie College, Oxford had a team member who when the final was filmed was not a student anymore but working for PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers.)

Duh!

I’m not the sharpest tool in the box but I can read a set of rules. A team consisting of some of the finest young minds in the country hadn’t noticed that one of their fellows was now working (surely they must have missed him at the student union bar) and that fact might cause a bit of a problem.

It’s strangely, reassuringly comforting that these people whose bedtime reading probably consists of Advanced Nuclear Physics or Ancient Latin Verbs and Conjugations had failed to cast a little eye on the rules as they steamrollered their way through the heats and semi-finals.

So in the great tradition of U.C. your starter for 10.

“Has anyone read the rules?”

“Nah!”

Bong!

Sources: The Guardian;      BBC

Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

                Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

It’s NOT cricket. Hurrah!

I heard with some interest (always a revelation to me) about the Second Test between England and the West Indies in Antigua being abandoned.

The match, held at the ‘Sir Vivian Richards Stadium’ was curtailed because of a ‘poor outfield’ which means that basically the pitch has been built on a beach.

Personally I think this is a great idea. What better way to keep the kids amused than to let them use a little strip of the boundary to build sandcastles. During lunch they could have donkey rides and sunbathers could stretch out their towels and catch a few rays before the tedium of ball watching continues.

They could do a roaring trade in deckchair hire and windbreakers for the Brit supporters. Dad could roll his socks up and put a hankie on his head and proudly watch the kids going pink and blotchy while the missus gets out the flask and sandwiches. Sounds like halcyon days to me.

I imagine that the world famous player who gave the ground its name is not a happy bunny. But then he could always say it’s actually not a cricket pitch but a golf course.

It just has very large bunkers that’s all.

Todd Carty slips out

So Todd ‘Tucker Jenkins‘ Carty is out of ‘Dancing on Ice.’ It was obviously going to happen sooner rather than later or they would have had to rename the show ‘Sack of Potatoes on Ice.’

To say he was of a lower standard than the other competitors would be an understatement. As one of the judges Jason said, his solo basically consisted of him standing still and smiling at the camera.

Which means that the Charlie Chaplin of ice has finally made his last bow but we all knew that this lovable, slightly roguish figure only had a limited shelf life. He certainly had his share of second chances but these could only be sustained as long as Joe public was willing to cough up and pay to vote for him.

If it had been up to the judges he’d have been out week 1.

I think Todd’s performances (and I’m using the term generously) have actually been outdone by the commuters of Great Britain this last week as they’ve ‘Triple Salchowed‘, ‘Double Axeled‘ and ‘Headbanged‘ their way up and down the UK.

No-one can deny though that he’s been entertaining. I watched his performance to the song ‘Help!’ a number of times on YouTube and couldn’t help laughing each time when he whizzed off stage and re-appeared a few moments later with a sheepish grin on his face. But you can only do this so many times before the joke wears as thin as the ice he was skating on.

But he is a natural comedian and I hope to see him on the box in the near future. As is the case with these programmes they are usually undertaken to revive or kick-start a flagging career. It would be a shame to lose him to out-of-work-TV-hell.

But for Dancing on Ice, this particular sack of spuds has had his chips.

Figure Skating for Dummies

Todd - you were a star!

Porn Bowl

American sports fans had a good reason not to wander off for more popcorn and stay glued instead to the TV during a commercial break for the recent Super Bowl.

(As we non-sports fans know commercials are the most cherished moments of a sporting event.  Ah! The bliss of getting back to gross commercialism.)

The match was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals (yep, I haven’t got a clue either.)
Three minutes before the end of the game there was a break for a ‘message from our sponsors‘.

But instead of your usual advertising content viewers were treated to a graphic sex act performed by none other than Jenna Jameson from her Club Jenna cable TV channel.

Apparently the two feeds had been mixed up and the 30 second clip was transmitted to the sports fans of Tuscon, Arizona.

As one viewer, Cora King noted, “I just thought it was another commercial until I looked up. Then he did his little dance with everything hanging out.”

(I hope they meant on the clip, not the footballers. If not British football may still have a lot to learn.)

Well I think there’s nothing wrong with relieving the tension of a big match with a bit of relief.

Appropriately one of the Arizona Cardinals nicknames is ‘Big Red’ which seems kind of apt to me.

Nice to know sports fans can get a break from watching balls bouncing in the air by … well … you know …

Oh, if your mad keen to know, the Pittsburgh Steelers won but I doubt whether they felt quite as much joy as the guy in the clip.